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Abstract:We study the stochastic shortest path (SSP) problem in reinforcement learning with linear function approximation, where the transition kernel is represented as a linear mixture of unknown models. We call this class of SSP problems the linear mixture SSP. We propose a novel algorithm for learning the linear mixture SSP, which can attain a $\tilde O(d B_{\star}^{1.5}\sqrt{K/c_{\min}})$ regret. Here $K$ is the number of episodes, $d$ is the dimension of the feature mapping in the mixture model, $B_{\star}$ bounds the expected cumulative cost of the optimal policy, and $c_{\min}>0$ is the lower bound of the cost function. Our algorithm also applies to the case when $c_{\min} = 0$, where a $\tilde O(K^{2/3})$ regret is guaranteed. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first algorithm with a sublinear regret guarantee for learning linear mixture SSP. In complement to the regret upper bounds, we also prove a lower bound of $\Omega(d B_{\star} \sqrt{K})$, which nearly matches our upper bound.